Here is the recipe for a typical dish from the Gulf of La Spezia, “Muscoli Ripieni alla Spezzina” or Spezzina-style stuffed mussels.
The recipe is provided by Le Cinque Erbe, a blog with foodie events and recipes from Liguria. The blogger behind it, Daniela Vettori, comes from the Gulf of Poets and is passionate about the gastronomic history of Liguria and ancient Lunigiana.
At the heart of this fish dish are the mussels known as muscoli or mitili. For more on this typical local product, read “Mytiliade: celebrating local food in the Gulf of La Spezia“.
Ingredients for 4/6 people
- 1 kg of fairly large mussels
- 2 eggs
- 300 gr. of peeled tomatoes (preferably fresh)
- a bit of bread crumbs
- 50 gr. minced mortadella
- 30 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
- A few stems of thyme (some for the stuffing, the rest for decoration)
- A bit of parsley
- 1 bunch of marjoram
- 4 tablespoons of Ligurian extra virgin olive oil
- 1 glass dry white wine
- 1 clean garlic clove
- 50 cl of fresh whole milk
- Salt and Pepper (based on your taste)
Wash and clean well the mussels, scraping the shell with the knife to remove deposits and grassy parts.
Open the mussels carefully, making sure that the two shell valves do not detach from each other.
In a bowl, prepare the filling by combining 10 mussels, a bit of garlic and the chopped seasonings, then add the bread crumbs (after drenching them in milk and squeezing them), Parmesan, eggs and mortadella.
Add pepper and salt to taste. Mix well.
Fill the slightly-open mussels. In a second pan stew the grinded parsley and garlic, sprinkle with white wine and add the tomatoes.
After a few minutes, add the stuffed mussels to the pan, cover it and cook over low heat or in the oven at 200 °, for about 30 minutes.
Arrange the dish on the platter and garnish its center with a few stems of thyme.
Photos by Ipssar G. Casini di La Spezia & Le Cinque Erbe